Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
Air Zimbabwe (Airzim) has, with immediate effect, retrenched 200 workers as part of its ongoing restructuring exercise to bring the national airline back to viability.
Out of 28 managers, only 12 were left while others who were in acting capacities were returned to their rightful positions.
The finance department, which had 36 staffers, was downsized to 17. All 30 pilots employed by the airline were not affected after it was discovered that they all had the requisite qualifications.
Airzim board chairperson Professor Chipo Dyanda confirmed the development yesterday, saying the current airline’s performance does not require a finance department of 36 people.
She said the remaining 17 employees in the finance department would be on performance based contracts for the next six months and those who failed to produce the desired results might be dismissed even before the six months lapsed.
As part of the restructuring exercise, Prof Dyanda said all employees would be on performance based contracts by the last quarter of this year.
She said a staff and skills audit done by an independent consultancy exposed a lot of unprofessional conduct ranging from under qualification, salary distortations and lack of proper skills among other things. “We have hired a private consultancy to do a staff audit in terms of checking qualifications to see if people are in the right positions,” she said.
“We have retrenched 200 employees out of 424 employees and those who were affected are going with their packages. The organisation is over bloated and we are also trying to correct salary distortations at the organisation. For example some employees were getting 45 percent retention allowances and 45 percent critical allowances and the net result was that the allowances will double one’s basic salary. Those who were made to act in certain positions were being given full packages instead of acting allowances. As a result of the salary distortations, we can no longer sustain the wage bill.
“Some of the people do not have the necessary qualifications and when the auditors checked their files they found nothing and why should we keep such people?”
Prof Dyanda continued: “Some of the anomalies that we have noted are that there seem to be reluctance by the finance department to produce audited financial results for the company. As we speak we still have outstanding audits dating back to 2011. The audit results are important for Government to make decisions and as well as our strategic partners.”
Prof Dyanda said they were also coming up with a new business strategy for Air Zimbabwe. She sad their aim was transform Harare from being a mere destination for travelers but a gateway that people use to connect to other parts of the world.
“This restructuring exercise is coming on the backdrop of a strategic plan to give the company a different business model so that Harare is not viewed as a destination but a transit to other parts of the world,” she said.
“We are also going to embark on a retraining exercise that includes all staff members starting with the chief executive officer. We want them to understand what it means to work for a parastatal. We want to reinforce their managerial skills and we have so far received good responses from people who want to train our staff even from South Africa.”
Dr Dyanda said the money that was going to be saved after the restructuring exercise would be re-invested into the airline’s operations until it reaches the capacity to contribute to the fiscus.